The threat of a strike at Bus Eireann has deepened after 1,000 staff backed industrial action by an overwhelming majority today. The operator serves the whole of the Republic, with the exception of Dublin.
SIPTU members have voted by 91% to take strike action if the company imposes cuts in premium pay, annual leave, overtime, and other work practices from Sunday. The union said the strike action will affect Bus Eireann services countrywide from Thursday 17 January, and could spread to other companies in the CIE group.
However, the other main union at the operator - the National Bus and Rail Union - has warned its members may down tools this Sunday. This would mean they would defy the legal requirement that they give seven days notice of industrial action.
Bus Eireann revealed its financial crisis last June with proposals for a massive cost-cutting plan including cuts to overtime and shift rates, premium and expense payments and annual leave, and increasing the working week.
The cost-cutting plan includes reducing overtime rates from 1.5-1.25 times; the working week for clerical and executive staff moving from 36 to 39 hours; reducing annual leave by three days this year and in 2014 and 2015; and a one-third cut in other allowances and expenses. The company has around 2,500 staff, with about two-thirds employed as drivers.